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Sunday, February 6, 2011

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

I saw the ads for the Inkheart DVD and decided to read the book first because, as everyone knows, the book is almost always better than the movie.

Anyway, the book in built upon a fairly unique premise - the people and characters from a fantasy novel come to life. I say fairly unique because both Dean Koontz and Stephen King explored this idea 20 years ago and several movies have jumped on this same idea in the last year.

I do not give the book 5 stars. The book is a dark piece of fiction - relentlessly so. The mood is nearly always somber and I found the book compelling but often depressing.

Cornelia Funke
The plot is fairly simple and the bad men in the book do a lot more threatening than real evil, but they do evil things - mutilations, burning people out of their homes, kidnappings, blackmail, and so on.

I have no problem with books that depict that evil exists in the world. As C.S. Lewis noted:

"Those who say that children must not be frightened may mean two things. They may mean (1) that we must not do anything likely to give the child those haunting, disabling, pathological fears against which ordinary courage is helpless: in fact, phobias. His mind must, if possible, be kept clear of things he can't bear to think of. Or they may mean (2) that we must try to keep out of his mind the knowledge that he is born into a world of death, violence, wounds, adventure, heroism and cowardice, good and evil. If they mean the first I agree with them: but not if they mean the second. The second would indeed be to give children a false impression and feed them on escapism in the bad sense. There is something ludicrous in the idea of so educating a generation which is born to the...atomic bomb. Since it is so likely that they will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage. Otherwise you are making their destiny not brighter but darker." 

With all of that being said, you know the young people in your life. If scary stories cause bad dreams and the like, wait until they get to middle school for this one.

I rate this book 4 stars out of 5.

Reviewed on June 16, 2009.

This book can be found on Amazon.com here: Inkheart (Inkheart Trilogy)

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